When we were kids, our parents told us that eating our veggies and drinking our milk would help us grow big and strong. Meanwhile, we were warned against drinking coffee as it was sure to stunt our growth. Essentially a ruse to get children to make healthy choices, we’ve long known that height is determined by the growth hormone. Once assumed the hormone’s only purpose, a deficiency was understood as an inborn trait where identification and treatment were provided exclusively to children.
We now understand that the growth hormone is responsible for maintaining metabolic balance throughout life. The effects of deficiencies impact a person’s physical and mental well-being in multi-faceted ways. Fatigue, abdominal fat, diminished muscle mass, and irritability hinders motivation and the ability to maintain healthy habits. This also increases the risk of cardiovascular conditions and stroke. If you’re struggling with hormone deficiency, there are many treatment pathways to minimize symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Growth Hormone: It’s More Than Our Height
Growth hormone is created and released from the brain’s pituitary gland. When a deficiency is not inborn, it’s usually the result of permanent gland damage due to trauma, infection, tumor, nearby tumor, or treatments to address tumors or abnormalities in the area.
The wide range of hormone deficiency symptoms, experienced to varying degrees, can make initial detection and diagnosis difficult. Individuals with adult-onset hormone deficiency may experience reduced muscle mass, increased abdominal fat, decreased energy and general health, irregular cholesterol levels, inadequate circulation, poor concentration, and depressed moods.
Those with growth hormone deficiency can benefit from lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can do wonders to relieve symptoms. Exercise builds muscle mass and improves mood. A low-sugar diet that is high in targeted nutrients such as calcium and magnesium can assist your compromised metabolic processes. As growth hormone is largely released during sleeping periods, a good night’s sleep should also be part of a healthy routine.
Relief Through Hormone Deficiency Treatment
For many, a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough to combat the pervasive effects of hormone deficiencies. For them, hormone deficiency treatment is necessary to restore balance and support the body system to function healthily. Hormone replacement therapies administer a synthetic version of growth hormone to the body. Patients are monitored through regular blood tests and doses are modified in response to abnormalities.
Today there are multiple hormone therapy options. Creams are a fast and effective way to get the hormone into the bloodstream. There it is deposited onto tissue where it acts as the naturally produced hormone would. This classic treatment especially benefits patients with compromised liver function as absorption bypasses the liver.
Hormone pills are typically prescribed once daily, administering a metered and individualized dose. For those weary of a daily regimen, hormone shots are an ideal solution. These can be self-administered or scheduled for in-office visits where frequency depends on dosage.
Persons looking for estrogen and low T support may be best benefitted by hormone pellets. Inserted into the fat cells of the buttock every 3-4 months, they provide a consistent stream of the necessary hormone throughout the bloodstream. The pellets eventually dissolve and will need replacement but require no maintenance.
Managing Your Estrogen and Low T
Each hormone therapy is effective at treating specific hormone deficiencies to varying degrees. Successful treatment will depend on open communication between you and your care team to assess side effects, inadequate doses, and ineffective treatment modalities. Side effects are typically mild and transient. Most notable are fluid retention, elevated blood sugar, and headaches or blurred vision. Consult your specialist with any and all questions, as even minor irritations can indicate that changes are needed.
While growth hormone may not help us to get taller in adulthood, it certainly has a hand in how wide we grow. Insufficient growth hormone has rippling effects throughout our bodies, keeping us away from homeostasis. When our bodies are out of balance, our minds are not far behind. Talk to your endocrinologist to see how you can restore your strength, energy, and vitality with hormone replacement therapy.